Thanks to the headline of an article I caught in the Akron Beacon Journal about a brewery opening in the middle of Amish country, our first motorcycle trip of the season was born.
An Amish brewery? We had to check it out.
It was a beautiful weekend and the perfect time to get our motorcycles out. I think I only rode a time or two last summer because we were so busy, but I am dedicated to making time for it this year. The fiance insists I will soon outgrow my little Buell Blast, so I better enjoy her while she’s still mine!
Founded in 1815, Millersburg is a tiny town in the middle of central Ohio Amish country. I grew up less than an hour away, and we had quite a few Amish communities nearby.
One of my friends lived on a farm next to an Amish farm and schoolhouse, and we would go play on the see-saw and swings during the summer when the school was empty. It wasn’t unusual for the school bus to pass a horse and buggy.
That said, I cannot believe what a tourist attraction Amish Country is/has become! It blows my mind. Thankfully, historic Millersburg is not the central destination yet. We pulled our bikes into the center of town, had no difficulty finding a parking spot across from the Holmes County Courthouse and walking down to the Millersburg Brewing Co.
It was neat inside–lots of exposed brick and minimal vintage signage hanging around. We ordered the beer sampler to try the full selection of six homemade brews. My favorites were the vanilla porter, which I don’t typically like, and the blonde. We sat at the bar with a few other couples who all seemed to be taking our route of the sampler for their first time in.
Right now they don’t have a kitchen so snacking is limited to some handmade meat and cheese platters or the free popcorn. I think they would do well to up the snacks in order to keep people around during meal times, but Millersburg is on a nice drive, especially for bikers, so I think they’ll have traffic just for their brews. There is a tavern and sports bar also on the street that might steal the post-drink crowd looking for a bite.
After our taste we walked around town–meaning we walked down the sidewalk and back up because there wasn’t much to see. They bill downtown as the historic district, and the buildings were old and very interesting, but there wasn’t much in the way of shops outside several antique stores. We popped in one to burn some time, but it’s not really our things. We’re pretty minimalistic, and we don’t own many, if any, antiques.
We decided to take a different route home and ended up driving straight through the heart of the tourism metropolis of Berlin.
There were people and cars everywhere heading into every gaudy, overplayed “Amish” themed store you could imagine–cheese barns, candle shops, buggy rides, glass blowing, quilt making, etc. I suppose some of these things could be cool–I always enjoyed Heritage Days and Prairie Peddlar growing up, but I certainly wasn’t in the mood on this trip, and just seeing so many people carting around Amish Oak toys and candy was making me crazy.
Not to mention we were stuck in traffic behind a truck that–no joke–had a goat in the bed. Some guy was reaching his hand out the back window to pour water into the bed for it to drink. It was wobbling all over every time they stopped and started. How I wished I had a camera handy for that.
Once we made it through the density of tourist shops things cleared out, and we were rolling through the hillside in a much more enjoyable state. It was brisk and a bit chilly when the wind caught you the right way, but the sun was shining and the countryside was pretty–it was a great ride.
We had stopped in Hartville on the way down for breakfast but we were starving on the ride back as it was late afternoon. We had to go through downtown Kent so we stopped to try a couple of the new restaurants–Newdle Bar and Yogurt Vi. The service wasn’t great at Newdle Bar, although we did enjoy our shishito peppers and noodle bowls. We popped into Yogurt Vi, which is a build-your-own yogurt bar, and got amazing treats. They had a couple non-dairy options–perfect for the fiance–and a hundred topping items to choose from. I created a half and half bowl of cotton candy yogurt with fresh fruit and caramel turtle yogurt with a medley of crunched up candy bar toppings. Both were delicious.
We sat in the window seats people watching and enjoying our yogurt before heading home. Wonderful start to our summer of 2013 motorcycle diary!